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7 Must-have Features in Your Digital Hearing Aids

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 7:19:35 PM Asia/Calcutta

You are extremely mesmerised by the advancements hearing devices are making and you have planned to buy digital hearing aids. Because these are the hearing aids you need so badly! You feel that the technologies found in these digital hearing aids are just for you!

Of course, hearing aids are primarily meant for amplifying sounds, but the technological boom in the past few decades have also found their way into listening devices as well, which made many other features to be incorporated into them. Many hearing aid manufacturing companies offer multiple features which are designed to cater to your personal needs according to your lifestyle choices. But there are certain features which you must look for while buying digital hearing aids. While the previous analog devices amplified all the sounds without differentiating between what’s really necessary and what’s not, the digital hearing aids of this generation are built only to make your life easier and simpler - with a more comfortable hearing experience.

Do make it a point to discuss your lifestyle choices with your Audiologist while buying digital hearing aids and leave the rest upon him to decide which device would suit you the best - based on both your hearing abilities and personal requirements. Check out for these must-have features in the device you would plan to buy -

  • Multi-channel - Digital hearing aids have the option of multi-channels. Channels in hearing aids enhance the listening experience of an individual by modifying each of the discrete sections in the sound frequency ranges. The more the channels in a hearing aid, the more capable will the device be to work with more and more discrete sections by dividing the frequency range into smaller parts.

  • Binaural processing - Just as you won’t have a complete and balanced vision if you see with only one eye, similar is the case with our hearing mechanism. If both of our ears are not properly engaged in receiving, transferring and converting sound stimulus due to certain problems in either of them, we would experience an unbalanced and muffled hearing. That means if we use binaural digital hearing aids and if the two are not properly linked, then we would not have a very enjoyable listening experience.

  • Digital noise reduction - Using cheap hearing aids of very poor quality would make you feel annoyed and frustrated in noisy listening situations, such as on the roads or at a busy restaurant, particularly if you are having a conversation with someone. The modern digital hearing aids are quite advanced with noise-cancellation features which would reduce or cancel out the background noises, enabling you to stay focused on speech.

  • Digital feedback reduction - Often the analog hearing aids produced internal feedback sounds due to improper fitting of the device in the ear canal. Choose digital hearing aids which would reduce these annoying feedback sounds.

  • Directional microphones - The hearing aids of today are designed to provide you with more comfort, especially in noisy listening situations. One amazing feature to combat the problem of distinguishing speech in noise is that of adaptive directionality. Digital hearing aids, nowadays, are being updated with more advanced directionality features to help you stay focused on the conversation - no matter in which listening condition you are in.

    The directional microphones in hearing aids enable the user to concentrate on the sound sources they want to, by ignoring or minimising the others which are relatively unimportant. Digital hearing aids can have two or more directional microphones separated by a specific distance. Although the directionality feature allows the listener to focus on sounds coming from the front, one advantage of multiple microphones in hearing devices is that you can even listen to someone speaking from behind.

    To learn more about how directional systems work in ear machine, read our blog on ‘The Concept of Directionality Used in Digital Hearing Aids’.

  • Multiprogram - Digital hearing aids of today are advanced with multiprogram storing capabilities. In other words, it would save your volume and program preferences which you have set in different listening situations.
  • Direct streaming - With the introduction of wireless technologies like Bluetooth and WiFi, life has become so much easier and enjoyable. Wonders happened when these technologies found there way in listening devices as well. There are so many apps that allow you to connect and easily pair your digital hearing aids to your smartphones via the latest wireless technologies. Thus, the hearing devices of this generation can now directly stream your phone calls and music into your hearing aids from your smartphone. This allows your hearing aids to turn into a wonderful pair of stereo headphones! Isn’t that absolutely wonderful?

In a nutshell, digital hearing aids are incomplete without these smart features. Do make a smart choice and live a better quality of life.

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

Questions to Ask Before Buying Digital Hearing Aids

Monday, April 8, 2019 4:50:45 PM Asia/Calcutta

Who doesn’t want a happy and peaceful life? Hearing loss may have been the spoiler for quite a long time, but not any more. It’s time to fight with it. And purchasing the right digital hearing aids is an important step towards that. A good decision taken now can change your entire life.

There are many things to consider before you actually go and buy the device and these are really important. Take the time out, do the research and do think upon these. Because you are going to require a device which will serve you for many more years.

What Should You Ask Before Buying?

  • Is the provider giving me the best customer service?

Why should you compromise with the quality of the products and the associated services? Never go anything but the best. Shortlist some of the brands providing good quality digital hearing aids and service providers. Do enough research on each of them. Nothing is worse than facing a service-provider who doesn’t cooperate. It is always better to know about all the terms and policies before buying than suffering due to an unpleasant service later on after purchase. Even if the quality of the products offered is good enough, you would not get a satisfactory result if your dealer doesn’t cooperate.

  • Does money-back guarantee really mean money back?

Make this very sure before falling prey to any exciting and sometimes misleading offers. Don’t let your hard-earned money go due to these false promises often made by some dealers. Do check whether the quality of the products is worth your time and money.

Of course, a reputable company will provide what is promised and will never mislead you. Check whether you are given the refund facility if you are unsatisfied with your product. Also check that you are been given full support in case your device is damaged and needs to be repaired.

Many companies offer a ‘no-questions-asked’ policy during the trial period, but often they end up asking numerous questions and take a lot of time before actually refunding for your product you are unsatisfied with.

  • Are you getting the after-sale services?

Buying a hearing aid doesn’t mean purchasing only the device. It comes with a package including the follow-up visits to the Audiologists, the reprogramming of your devices, education and guidance, adjustments, the repairing services and the availability of batteries. It might happen that your device got damaged after a certain time or your digital hearing aids need reprogramming. In the first case, you would require a good team that repairs your device and provide a spare hearing aid during that period. In the latter, you would require the help of a skilled Audiologist who would reprogramme your device according to your hearing needs.

  • Is there a warranty period?

Every good hearing aid dealer would provide you with a warranty period. But always ask and be sure what components are covered in the warranty period before you make the purchase. If you need extra coverage or an extended warranty period, talk to your dealer and your Audiologist for the available options.

  • When should I replace my device?

Most digital hearing aids should last at least 5 years, if not more. However, the life of your devices would depend greatly on the way you use them and take care of them. A lot depends upon the quality of the device as well and the features they have. Make sure to ask for the approximate time your device should work well. In case of breakdowns, consult your dealer from whom you purchased your digital hearing aids. They should either repair it or replace it with a new one (if within the warranty period). So always make these things clear before you make the investment.

  • How often should I need to adjust my hearing aids?

Your hearing keeps changing from time to time. Therefore, you need to get a hearing check-up done from at regular intervals. Your Audiologist will guide you through and tell you when to adjust or reprogramme your device or when you need to upgrade your digital hearing aids. Consult your Audiologist immediately if you face any discomfort with your device.

  • What accessories do I need?

There are certain accessories and tools that ensure that your hearing aids keep working their best. Look for cleaning kits and dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from your device. A dirt-and-moisture-free device is bound to give you the maximum benefits.

 

The point which you need to understand that every hearing centre is different. You just need to check whether the above few things are there in the centre you have chosen. These are the basic requirements that you need to have in a hearing aid clinic and do consider checking out these things before making the purchase. Because a good decision taken now would determine your quality of life.

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

CROS and BiCROS Hearing Aids

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 11:29:29 AM Asia/Calcutta

Single-Sided Deafness

Often there are cases in which people have a hearing loss in one ear and don’t have any aidable hearing loss in the other. This condition is also known as single-sided deafness or unilateral hearing loss. Single-sided deafness or SSD is a condition in which a person has lost his or her hearing in one ear, and has anywhere from normal to profound hearing loss in that ear and no hearing loss in the other ear. SSD causes real problems even if the working ear or the better ear has excellent hearing. Often untreated single-sided deafness might lead to stress, anxiety and depression, and you might isolate yourself socially. Therefore, the CROS and the BiCROS digital hearing aids are introduced so as to help people with SSD to hear better by making use of the better ear.

 

How is Single-Sided Deafness Different from Asymmetrical Hearing Loss?

While single-sided deafness, as already mentioned, refers to the condition in which an individual has some degree of hearing loss in one ear and absolutely normal hearing in the other; asymmetrical hearing loss, on the other hand, refers to the condition in which a person has mild to moderate degree of hearing loss in one ear, and severe to profound degree of loss in the other. CROS hearing aids are generally recommended for people with single-sided deafness and those with asymmetrical hearing loss are recommended BiCROS hearing aids.

 

Why is Binaural Hearing So Important?

Our body is a ‘machine’ which is finely tuned and properly balanced. If anyone organ gets damaged it will ruin this balance. Similar is the case with our ears! We really need two ears to hear well and have a proper and correct perception of sound. If there is a loss of hearing in any one of the ears, the sounds from your surroundings won’t be picked up in the correct way - thus resulting in a wrong and often misguiding sound perception - which can be dangerous!

Binaural hearing or hearing with both the ears has advantages in ways more than one (otherwise why would you be gifted with two ears)! Our brain makes use of information received from both the ears. It is only after receiving information from both the ears will the brain be able to process the information about the sound signals correctly, thus enabling you to have a distortion-free sound perception.

Hearing with two ears definitely has great advantages over hearing with one in situations like -

  • Improved speech recognition and understanding even in noise.

  • Better sound localisation or better recognition of the direction of the sound.

  • With binaural hearing, you will have a clearer and a much more natural sound perception as you are able to hear sounds coming from all the directions. It is because you will be able to hear sounds approaching from a much wider range, thus enabling you to understand and comprehend sounds better.

  • ‘Stereo’ hearing or binaural hearing (hearing with two ears) is less strenuous than ‘mono’ hearing (hearing with only one ear). People with monaural hearing usually get tired more faster than those with binaural hearing.

  • Two ears will act as a cushion as the sounds are divided equally between the two ears. This characteristic of binaural hearing also enables you to tolerate louder sounds much better than you would have done with monaural hearing. That is you won’t have to face jarring effects if you face some sudden loud noises.

  • Children will learn speech and language skills better than those peers with mono hearing (due to unilateral hearing loss or single-sided deafness).

  • Individuals with binaural hearing respond in group discussions much faster than their peers with monaural hearing.

  • Children with binaural hearing are more self-confident than those with monoaural hearing.

  • Binaural hearing makes sure that you can have your peace-of-mind while performing your day-to-day activities.

So this is why you need to hear well with both the ears!

 

CROS Hearing Aid Systems

CROS and BiCROS hearing aids are usually recommended for people with single-sided deafness. The CROS (Contralateral Routing Of Signals) digital hearing aids are recommended for individuals who have lost their hearing in one ear and have normal hearing in the other. In other words, the CROS hearing aid device is recommended for those who have unaidable hearing loss in one ear and no loss in the other. This device takes the sound from the poor ear to the working ear to enable you to hear well with less strain. The CROS device is usually not considered a full-fledged hearing aid.

The CROS hearing aid has microphones and an amplifier chip, but no speaker. The transmission of sounds takes place wirelessly from the hearing aid on the poor ear to the receiving hearing aid on the better ear. Although it may seem strange to wear a hearing aid on the ear with normal hearing, it is just delivering the sounds from your bad ear, and not amplifying any sound.

CROS Hearing Aids

There is yet another case in which the person has hearing loss in both the ears - with aidable hearing loss in one ear and unaidable loss in the other. In such a case, BiCROS (Bilateral Microphones with Contralateral Routing of Signal) hearing aids would be helpful. This type is similar to the CROS system - a CROS transmitter is paired with an active hearing aid. It is suggested for people who have asymmetrical hearing loss, with one ear being better than the other, though both have some degree of hearing loss. For example, a person having mild to moderate degree of hearing loss in one ear, and severe to profound degree of hearing loss or even total hearing loss in the other - would qualify as an ideal candidate for BiCROS digital hearing aids.

A BiCROS hearing aid picks up sounds from the ear with unaidable hearing loss (that is from the bad ear), processes it and mixes it with its own input and then amplifies the mixed signal and delivers the resultant into the other ear with aidable hearing loss (the better ear). This whole process is done in such a manner that you would feel that you are actually hearing from your bad ear.

BiCROS Hearing Aids

 

The Conclusion

The goal of these CROS devices is to provide the person with a sense of binaural hearing when true binaural hearing aid fitting is not possible. The good news is, these digital hearing aids are introduced with advanced wireless technologies with which the user no longer needed to stay connected physically, and yet enjoy the listening experience seamlessly.

This type of set-up is made so as to enable you to have a clear sound perception from all the directions and from both the sides of your head - which is important. In other words, the CROS and the BiCROS digital hearing aids are designed to give you a feeling of binaural hearing.

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

Can Hearing Aids Help Tinnitus?

Friday, November 2, 2018 6:44:59 PM Asia/Calcutta

Are you worried about Tinnitus, and tired of living with it for a long time now? Are you wondering whether you will ever get cured of it? The good news is, some Tinnitus problems can be managed with the help of hearing aids. However, it cannot be fully cured with the help of these devices - no matter how technologically advanced digital hearing aids you are using. Also, you must realise that you should consult a certified Audiologist at the earliest - because delaying or avoiding Tinnitus won’t be a solution!

 

Incidence and Prevalence

According to the CDC estimates, in the US, the prevalence of Tinnitus is about 15% of the total population (that is, about 45 million Americans) - and a majority of them are senior citizens belonging to the age group of 65-85. Apart from ringing in the ears, Tinnitus is also associated with other sounds, such as buzzing, humming, hissing, or even roaring, and in some cases cricket-like - even when there is no presence of external sounds! Tinnitus can occur either in one ear or both the ears, or even in the head - and the ringing sounds can be either constant or intermittent. It has become a common problem nowadays, and about 2 million Americans are suffering from quiet an alarming or chronic stages of Tinnitus. The result being - effect on daily functioning, a decline in the productivity at workplace, difficulties concentrating in academics, misunderstandings in relationships and among family members, sleep disturbances, and worse still - it might affect emotional or psychological conditions.

 

How Can Hearing Aids Provide Tinnitus Relief?

There are many varieties of advanced and smart digital hearing aids which help manage and reduce tinnitus problems. However, apart from hearing devices, there are many other tinnitus instruments which can be clubbed together with the use of these digital hearing aids to improve outcomes and enhance tinnitus relief. Also, there are various maskers and home masking devices which are used to cover up or conceal the tinnitus sounds.

There is a specialised therapy known as Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) - which uses cognitive behavioral therapy along with a masking device which makes the person suffering from Tinnitus learn to ignore the background noises of Tinnitus.

All of these methods have the sole aim of comforting or lessening the problem, thus making tinnitus less audible - because tinnitus cannot be cured completely; it can only be treated and in the true sense, be ‘masked’.

 

Now What is Meant by Masking of Tinnitus?

Just like hearing loss, tinnitus is a problem which cannot be cured, it can only be treated. In other words, if your tinnitus problem is caused due to hearing loss, then hearing aids can help manage and comfort your ringing sounds. It is because when you were living with an untreated hearing loss, your brain was not able to receive all the sounds due to lack of stimulation in the specific sound frequencies in which you are having the loss. For example, you may not be able to hear the sound of birds chirping if you have a high frequency hearing loss.

After you have opted for advanced digital hearing aids, you will again be able to hear those sounds in these frequencies. Studies have shown that after this amplification with the help of hearing machine, people who have hearing loss along with tinnitus, have reported a significant decline in the severity of tinnitus problems as well.

The reason behind this is after the adaptation of digital hearing aids, one is once more able to listen to natural sounds of the surrounding environment, such as the rustling of the leaves, the rainfall, the splash in the pool, the singing of the cuckoo, and so much more - which they were missing for all these days! This ability to hear these natural sounds acts as a ‘masking’ effect for tinnitus - due to which a person who is suffering from both hearing loss and tinnitus will at least be relieved from the annoying ringing sounds which were hampering his/her life activities for so long!

Also, in addition to improving the hearing and communication abilities of the concerned person, hearing aids also amplify the background sounds. This helps reduce the loudness or the prominence of Tinnitus, and help the person concentrate more on the sounds of nature. Simply taking one’s concentration off the disturbing Tinnitus sounds serves as a relief for many people. Besides, on using digital hearing aids, a person is no more required to strain while trying hard to hear something properly. This itself reduces stress, as hearing devices are meant to improve communication, and thus, the concerned person is relieved from Tinnitus problems.

However, you will be surprised to know that there are many advanced digital hearing aids today that are aimed at directly managing Tinnitus problems. So why should you delay in opting one? Just go ahead and stay away from the icy pangs of tinnitus!

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee

5 Tips to Get the Best Out of Your Digital Hearing Aids

Monday, September 3, 2018 11:39:56 AM Asia/Calcutta

The modern day smart and advanced digital hearing aids are designed to provide you the best hearing experience. People worldwide have given quite positive feedbacks after using digital hearing aids for sometime - and are living quite happily. But there is a trick! To get the best out of your hearing aids, you need to follow certain rules and tips, so as to get connected with the hearing world better!

Digital Hearing Aids

Tips to Hear Better with Digital Hearing Aids

  • Wear them for most of the day! Never go without your hearing aids at any time of the day, even while at home. If you keep them aside, your brain might start forgetting certain natural sounds which it did not hear for a long time. Give your brain enough food for it to stay in good working condition.

  • Start by using your digital hearing aids in a quiet room. One-to-one conversations at home might help, as no background noise would distract you.

  • If you are a new hearing aid user, or are using it after a long time, then follow conversations at TV and radio. If you are watching a movie, then try following the subtitles. It will make you understand speech more easily. Remember! Escaping from difficult situations won’t help! You have to face them to wipe away your fears!

  • Try using them in noisier environments. Go out at a busy crowd, a local supermarket or a restaurant. It will help improve your speech perception even in noise, and will also help your digital hearing aids store your preferred programs so that these can be referred to whenever needed.

  • Use the phone well. Place the phone close to the hearing aid’s microphone. It will enhance your speech perception, and will also reduce whistling and other feedback sounds from the device.

So what are you doing to get the most out of your valuable digital hearing aids?

Comments | Posted in Digital Hearing Aids By Phalguni Bannerjee
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